Interview By Ville Krannila / November 2007
First off the obvious question, why did you start a Priest tribute band and what does the music of Judas Priest mean to you?
Szatyi: We set up the band liked Priest’s music so much and wanted to play their songs. It started as a nice hobby and the band realized that there were no existing Judas Priest tribute band in Hungary at that time. Later we decided to take it more seriously and learn more Priest songs to be able to get up on the stage and have a whole Priest gig.
It is always huge fun for us to play these songs.
Where did the name Meltdown came from?
It’s, obviously, from the live Judas Priest album from ’98 entitled Meltdown.
How long have you guys been Priest fans, how did it all begin?
Szatyi: Since 1982. I was 12 when I heard a riff from my brother’s room that blew me away. It was Electric Eye.
Of course singing the songs originally done by the Metal God himself ain’t the easiest thing in the world. Do you practice the metal screams or do any vocal training?
I practice in the car or when we are rehearsing. I have taken lessons for years. I can’t sing these songs as well as the Metal God himself but he is the one and only. These songs really influenced my youth. My goal is to share this feeling with people.
In general, how much practice does it take to make a successful tribute act?
The band members play a lot separately too, because we have been in many bands. So we don’t practice so much together, but still enough to be able to throw a good show. The success comes from the songs, really.
What “gear”do the players currently use?
ISzatyi: Sennheiser mic, lexicon effects
Viktor: Marshall EL34 50/50 poweramp, Yamaha DG-Stomp preamp, ENGL 4×12” PRO cabinet, Musicman Axis guitar
Csaba: Peavey JSX head, two Marshall 4*12 cabs, TC. Electronic G-major, AKG Wireless, Peavey Wolfgang and Fender Stratocaster guitars
Viktor: Tama Starclassic drums
Gábor: 72’Fender Precision bass, 75’ Fender Jazz bass, Ampeg 8*10 cab and Ampeg head
What’s the hardest Priest song to play live? Which one took most work to get done?
Painkiller, The Sentinel -these songs have taken more time to learn than the others.
If you could add any song to the Meltdown set, which would it be?
Ram it Down, Exciter are the next to be learned as well as Freewheel Burning.
Have you recorded any Priest songs in studio? If not, do you have plans to maybe cut some demo versions of Priest classics?
Yes, we recorded 3 Priest songs (Electric eye, The Ripper, You’ve got another thing coming) with the previous line-up of the band.
Do you use other Priest-related gimmicks such as a motorbike on the stage?
Nothing special, we believe in the power of music 🙂 Maybe we try the bike on a big stage next. 🙂
What is the most memorable gig that you’ve played and what made it great?
We all agree that the best show was in Slovakia last December. We were in our best shape, and we had a fantastic audience. So everything was given to be a very cool night.
Are there any interesting “Meltdown on the road” stories to tell?
Last summer we were invited to a festival in Ukraine. At the border we got a guard to help us to get to the place where we played. They said it was not safe at all to drive around with the whole rig on the bus, we could be robbed easily. When we arrived in the festival, it was on a field in the middle of a forest and the weather was horrible. It rained hard and it was dark. There was mud all around and the bus almost got stuck in the mud when we were trying to drive closer to the stage to set up the amps. The stage was in the back of a lorry with no roof on it… so the stage was all wet. All the electric cables were on the wet floor. Of course the whole show was hours late so we decided to get back to the car and go home. It was too risky to set our feet upon the stage.
However, we agreed with the organizers to get back next time to play a new gig.
Have you ever seen other Priest tributes? What sets Meltdown apart from other JP tribute bands?
Yes, there are two more bands here. We pay attention to each other.
Our name surely set us apart from the others, and maybe the fact that our line-up is the oldest.
But all the three bands play well live. We are friends and the most important thing for us as Meltdown is to feel good about ourselves when we play together and entertain our audience.
What kind of metal scene is there in Hungary at the moment and how hard is it to get recognition over there as a heavy metal band?
There are many active metal bands here. Many of them are talented. It’s hard to break out, because Hungary is a small country with a small audience. And it’s too expensive for most of the bands to go abroad to play.
What’s up next for Meltdown?
We’re gonna take part in a huge tribute festival with 20 other tribute bands. And we are also planning to record a few more Priest songs.
If you had to choose, which Priest album would you take with you to a desert island and why?
Viktor: Painkiller – because it’s the most beaten and powerful album of the Priest.
Szatyi: the 12-piece boxset
Thank You! Keep playing and keep bringing PRIEST fans an excellent tribute!
Some gems from YouTube:
HELL BENT FOR LEATHER – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQYGIxcO8QI
To view more videos of Meltdown, go to: